American-style democracy has become a money game for the rich. The 2020 US presidential and congressional elections cost as much as $14 billion. US politicians make promises in exchange for electoral funding and spend a fortune on publicity. When in office, the politicians engage in corruption considered legitimate by openly exchanging power for money through lobbying and political donations. When their term ends, they would smoothly move from political circles to business sectors through the ‘revolving door’. Such whole-process corruption with no missing link is strictly punished in other countries. It is contemptible that corruption is legitimized and openly practiced in the US.Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on December 22, 2021
China and the other socialist countries are smashing the myth of socialism as undemocratic
Friends of Socialist China was honoured to be invited by the International Department of the Communist Party of China to participate in a virtual meeting of Marxist parties in Europe, North America and Oceania, entitled ‘Democracy, Justice, Development and Progress: The Pursuit of Marxist Political Parties’ on 15 December 2021. This meeting brought together over 20 Marxist political parties and organisations to discuss and share insights on these themes, as well as to compare notes on innovation in Marxist theory and practice.
The keynote speech was given by Song Tao, head of the CPC’s International Department. He began by recalling internationalist comrades such as Norman Bethune who had assisted the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people. Locating the failure of the Paris Commune in the lack of a strong leadership core and guiding ideology, he noted that Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era was a new breakthrough in adapting Marxism to Chinese conditions, thereby creating a brand new image of socialism in the world, positively impacting the global balance of forces between socialism and capitalism, and thereby promoting the emancipation of all humanity.
Comrade Song’s speech was followed by those from the leaders of the Communist Party of Australia, Hungarian Worker’s Party, Italian Communist Party, Communist Party of Canada, Communist Party of Britain, Communist Party of Denmark, Communist Party of Finland, Communist Party of Spain and the Communist Party of the USA.
Closing the meeting, Qian Hongshan, Deputy Head of the CPC International Department, again underlined that the emancipation of all humanity was the strategic goal of all Marxist parties throughout the world.
Friends of Socialist China co-editors Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez submitted written speeches to the meeting on invitation. The following is the contribution prepared by Carlos Martinez.
Dear comrades and friends,
The themes of today’s event are democracy, justice, development and progress. These are concepts that capitalism has long tried to exercise a monopoly over. The capitalist world, led by the US, has sought to portray itself as the central force for democracy and progress globally. Conversely it has sought to portray the socialist world as the enemy of democracy and progress; as a force of authoritarianism and backwardness. This was a core pillar of the propaganda connected with the Cold War, and is now central to the New Cold War.
In recent years, the idea of the socialist countries being ‘backward’ or ‘undeveloped’ has started to lose any of the resonance it once had, even among people in the West. The People’s Republic of China in particular has emerged as a powerhouse in science and technology; it is among the world leaders in 5G, in artificial intelligence, in quantum computing, in nanotechnology, in space research, and more. China’s successful campaigns to suppress Covid-19 and to eliminate extreme poverty have caught the world’s attention, and the ‘backward’ label just does not stick.Continue reading China and the other socialist countries are smashing the myth of socialism as undemocratic
The universalization of ‘liberal democracy’
The following article, written by Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez, has been accepted for publication in the journal International Critical Thought, where it will appear in early 2022. We have permission to publish the draft on this website, since the subject matter is particularly pertinent to current debates on the question of democracy.
The word democracy is connected to a large and diverse body of meaning. In the broadest sense, it simply refers to the exercise of power – directly or indirectly – by the people. However, in the leading capitalist countries, its meaning is much more specific: it has become synonymous with the system of ‘liberal democracy’, characterized by a multi-party parliament, universal suffrage, the separation of powers, and a strong emphasis on the protection of private property.
This narrow definition is widely considered in the West as a universal and absolute truth. Indeed, in the dominant Western narrative, adherence to the principles of liberal democracy constitutes the fundamental dividing line in global politics. On one side there is a group of ‘democracies’ (including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, Japan, India and South Korea) and on the other side a group of ‘non-democracies’ or ‘authoritarian regimes’ (including the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and most of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America).Continue reading The universalization of ‘liberal democracy’
Charles McKelvey: Does the world need capitalist democracy or socialist democracy?
We are pleased to republish these reflections on our recent event, The Summit for Socialist Democracy, originally posted by Charles McKelvey on his Substack.
With respect the December 9-10 “Summit for Democracy,” hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, the Korean intellectual Kiyul Chung had the quote of the day. Kiyul characterized the event as an “imperial circus,” and he declared that “if Malcolm X were still alive, he would probably say that all of the house Negroes have been invited, but all of the field Negroes have not been invited.”
In response to the imperial circus, the Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group organized The Summit for Socialist Democracy. The participants in the December 11 panel were:Continue reading Charles McKelvey: Does the world need capitalist democracy or socialist democracy?
Quote: The detention of Julian Assange shows the reality of ‘freedom of speech’ in the West
It seems that anyone can enjoy freedom of the press and freedom of speech as long as they refrain from criticizing or disclosing the unspeakable crimes committed by the US. Otherwise, they may end up behind bars like Julian Assange. When the US next calls for safeguarding freedom of the press and freedom of speech, people will remember what happened to Mr Assange.Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 13, 2021
Danny Haiphong on the anti-China agenda of Biden’s Summit for Democracy
Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong appeared on China News Service to analyze the significance of Biden’s Summit for Democracy. Haiphong connects the Summit to the US’s woes at home and abroad, as well as its clear anti-China agenda.
The show is in Standard Chinese, but Danny’s interview segments are in English with Chinese subtitles.
Four Criteria of Democracy: The Superiority of China’s Full Process Socialist Democracy over the Democracy in the United States
We are very pleased to publish the text of this important speech made by Cheng Enfu (Principal Professor, University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and President, World Association of Political Economy) to our Summit for Socialist Democracy held on 11 December 2021. The full event can be viewed on YouTube.
The key to a country’s democracy is whether the people are the masters of their own country. To that end, four important criteria must be considered in determining whether a country’s political system is democratic.
1. The right to vote is important, but more important is people’s wide participation
When people have the right to vote, they can freely express their personal will, but this is far from enough, because the equality in the political right of “one person, one vote” does not necessarily remove other inequalities in economic and social terms. To solve this problem, people must have the right to participate in an all-around manner. The right to participation is the kernel of democratic politics. A democracy in which the people have only the right to vote but not the right to broad participation, i.e., they are awakened only at the time of voting and then go dormant afterwards, is formalistic. Evidently, it is of equal importance to ensure and support the people’s position as masters and to allow them to participate deeply in the management of both national and social life, through elections in accordance with the law as well as through systems and means other than election.Continue reading Four Criteria of Democracy: The Superiority of China’s Full Process Socialist Democracy over the Democracy in the United States
Li Jingjing: Does China have democracy?
CGTN reporter Li Jingjing recently posted a presentation on YouTube explaining China’s political system and countering the standard narrative in the West that China is ‘authoritarian’ and ‘undemocratic’. The video is embedded below, along with the text, which Li Jingjing has kindly provided us with.
China has… democracy?
Yes, guys. I know a lot of you probably are very shocked right now, especially if you are from the West.
“No, there’s no way China is a democracy, it’s an authoritarian government that oppresses its people! As we were told by our governments and media!”
Ok ok, if it really oppresses its people, then how do you explain this:
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer in 2020, 82% of Chinese trust their government, ranked No.1 in the world, followed by India, Australia, Canada and Germany. And you see, this research was done in 2020, after China went through lockdowns and hit hard by COVID 19 pandemic in the first half of that year, the trust in government is still higher than any other countries. I’m sure that number got even higher after the economy and wellbeing of people got better in 2021.Continue reading Li Jingjing: Does China have democracy?
Joint statement on democracy and common development
We are very pleased to republish this statement, coordinated by the International Department of the Communist Party of China, promoting a pluralistic approach to the issue of democracy and calling on the world’s countries to develop mutual understanding and cooperation rather than attempting to pursue hegemony and unilateralism.
The statement has been endorsed by 351 political parties, social organisations and think tanks from 140 countries and regions. Friends of Socialist China is proud to be among the signatories.
Joint Statement of World Political Parties, Social Organisations and Think Tanks on making Independent Efforts to Explore the Path Toward Democracy and Working Together to Promote Common Development
Democracy represents an important achievement of humanity in the advancement of political civilisation, and development an eternal pursuit throughout human history. People of different countries and regions, through their unremitting explorations, have brought about distinctively varied forms of democracy and development paths, presenting a magnificent spectacle of flourishing human civilisations. Political parties, as they are in a position to build, preserve and develop democracy, have been charged with the important mission to realise democracy and promote development. In view of the above, we, the 351 political parties, social organisations and think tanks from 140 countries and regions, issue a joint statement to the whole world as follows:Continue reading Joint statement on democracy and common development
China is more meaningfully democratic than the Western capitalist states
In this brief interview with Xinhua, Carlos Martinez explains how China’s whole process people’s democracy is in fact much more meaningfully democratic – in terms of being accountable to the people – than is the West’s ‘liberal’ capitalist democracy. The video is embedded below, followed by the report, which originally appeared in Xinhua on 9 December 2021.
China’s whole-process people’s democracy is far more meaningfully democratic than the Western liberal democracy, Carlos Martinez, a British author and political commentator, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Ordinary Chinese people are much more engaged in running their communities and society, said Martinez, adding that “the basic interests of ordinary people in China are represented in government to a far greater degree than the case in the West.”
Noting that the shaping of democracy in China has its own background, he said there was no template available for the type of democracy the Chinese people needed when the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.Continue reading China is more meaningfully democratic than the Western capitalist states
Reminder: The Summit for Socialist Democracy (11 December)
A reminder that our Summit for Socialist Democracy webinar takes place on Saturday 11 December, 9am US Eastern / 2pm Britain / 10pm China.
On December 9-10, Biden is hosting a ‘Summit for Democracy’, “bring together leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector to set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal” and to “defend against authoritarianism”. The geopolitical theme of this is, of course, to close ranks in the capitalist world against China, Russia, Cuba, DPRK, Venezuela and other countries. The ideological theme is to reaffirm the superiority of capitalism and so-called liberal democracy.
Our event will challenge the dominant narratives around democracy, will highlight the democratic systems prevailing in socialist societies, will discuss the plutocratic nature of neoliberal capitalism, and will expose how the concept of democracy is leveraged in support of a deeply undemocratic and violent imperialism.
The event is organised jointly by Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group, and is co-sponsored by the Morning Star, the International Action Center, Nodutdol and Qiao Collective.
- Cheng Enfu (Principal Professor, University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
- Carlos Ron (Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America, Venezuela)
- Isabel Monal Rodríguez (Director of the Department of Marxist Studies, Academy of Sciences of Cuba)
- Luna Oi (Vietnamese blogger and broadcaster)
- Kiyul Chung (Professor, Tsinghua University, China; Korea University, Tokyo, Japan)
- Layla Brown (Assistant Professor, Northeastern University, US)
- Zhai Guoqiang (Deputy Director of the Institute of International Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
- Elias Jabbour (Professor, Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil)
- Roland Boer (Professor, Dalian University of Technology, China)
- Danny Haiphong (Co-editor, Friends of Socialist China; Contributing editor, Black Agenda Report)
- Ju-Hyun Park (Writer and organizer, Nodutdol)
- Moderator: Radhika Desai (Professor, University of Manitoba, Canada)
Ian Goodrum: The ‘Summit for Democracy’ is a master class in hypocrisy
We are pleased to republish below this important article by Ian Goodrum in People’s World exposing the profound hypocrisy lying just beneath the surface of Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’, and discussing the realities of China’s socialist democracy.
The image above shows US soldiers holding three Grenadians prisoner during the October 1983 US invasion.
If you thought discourse in the United States couldn’t get more childish, think again: This week, the White House is convening the geopolitical equivalent of the He-Man Woman-Haters’ Club from Our Gang.
The club has an official name, of course; the Summit for Democracy, wherein U.S. President Joe Biden and 110 of his closest friends have a super-secret special meeting in their treehouse to talk about how great they are. But however hard they try to gussy it up, this affair is no different from what Spanky, Alfalfa, and Buckwheat got up to in those Hal Roach short films decades ago.Continue reading Ian Goodrum: The ‘Summit for Democracy’ is a master class in hypocrisy
Carlos Martinez: the Summit for Democracy is just another excuse for China-bashing
Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was recently interviewed by CGTN in relation to Biden’s upcoming Summit for Democracy, which is in reality an attempt to consolidate pro-imperialist forces globally against China and other socialist and progressive countries. This is the second part of the interview (the first part can be found here). The video segment of the interview is embedded below, followed by the text of the report, which is republished from CGTN.
These issues will be explored in detail at our Summit for Socialist Democracy, to be held on Saturday 11 December.
I think to some extent, the political context in the West is that anti-China propaganda, particularly in the U.S., has reached a stage where politicians seem like they are forced to engage in China-bashing. It’s become like a form of populism. The media and politicians have been blaming China for everything- for COVID-19, for unemployment, for declining or slow economic growth.
So Biden feels that he has to prove to people that he’s not going to be soft on China. He made it clear from the start that he planned to continue Trump’s basic policy of hostility towards China. But at the same time, Biden wants to put some kind of distance in people’s minds between himself and Trump. And he’s doing that in two key ways, and both of them sort of feed into the summit.Continue reading Carlos Martinez: the Summit for Democracy is just another excuse for China-bashing
There is greater democracy in China than in many self-proclaimed democratic countries
We are pleased to republish this article from China Daily featuring a selection of opinions about the China: Democracy That Works white paper released at the beginning of December 2021.
Dispelling a universal type of democracy, China’s latest white paper on the issue presents Chinese whole-process people’s democracy as a true and most suitable form in the country’s context, political analysts say.
The document, titled “China: Democracy That Works”, was released by the State Council Information Office on Saturday. Democracy is a common value of humanity and an ideal pursued by ancient civilizations including China and cherished by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people, it said.
Carlos Martinez, co-editor of Friends of Socialist China, said that the white paper provides a detailed insight into China’s own democratic system at a time when the United States and its allies are making a big push to promote Western capitalist democracy as the only legitimate form of governance.Continue reading There is greater democracy in China than in many self-proclaimed democratic countries
Carlos Martinez: The Summit for Democracy won’t succeed in propping up US hegemony
Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was recently interviewed by CGTN in relation to Biden’s upcoming Summit for Democracy, which is in reality an attempt to consolidate pro-imperialist forces globally against China and other socialist and progressive countries. A video segment of the interview is embedded below, followed by the text of the report, which is republished from CGTN.
These issues will be explored in detail at our Summit for Socialist Democracy, to be held on Saturday 11 December.
I think the international context is quite sensitive (and) quite fragile. The main reason behind this being the emerging “new cold war,” which is led by the United States and is directed primarily against China. It’s also directed against Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela (and) the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Essentially, all those countries that you can say, they’re unwilling to accept the U.S. vision of international relations, the so-called liberal international order in which the U.S. enjoys more or less unchallenged hegemony. And U.S.-China relations have really deteriorated in recent years, particularly since 2018.Continue reading Carlos Martinez: The Summit for Democracy won’t succeed in propping up US hegemony
Dee Knight: the ‘Summit for Democracy’ is the apex of hypocrisy
In this timely article, Dee Knight of the Anti-War Subcommittee of the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) International Committee dissects and exposes the true nature of President Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’. He particularly notes that the invitation to the Taiwan authorities is a direct attack on the ‘one China policy’, established as the basis of China-US relations since the time of the 1972 Shanghai Communique. He further outlines the hypocrisy of the US position with regard to such countries as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Honduras. These and other themes will be further elaborated in our Summit for Socialist Democracy on Saturday 11th December.
President Biden’s December 9–10 “Summit for Democracy” has already stirred up a storm. The White House says the summit will have “three principal themes: defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights” — clearly targeting Washington’s chosen “autocratic states,” China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
The government of Taiwan is among the 100-plus invitees, prompting suspicions that a key goal is de facto recognition of the island as a sovereign state. This continues the systematic gutting of the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué, signed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, in which the United States acknowledged the One-China policy and agreed to cut back military installations on Taiwan. Now Taiwan is bristling with military installations of all kinds, and has trainers from the U.S. on site — also in violation of the Shanghai Communiqué. It’s a pressure campaign against China, threatening world peace, despite recent friendly talk between Biden and Xi.Continue reading Dee Knight: the ‘Summit for Democracy’ is the apex of hypocrisy
On democracy in China: state power serves the people rather than capital
We’re pleased to republish below the full text of China: Democracy That Works, an important white paper released by China’s State Council Information Office on 4 December 2021.
At a time when the US and its allies are making a big push to promote Western capitalist democracy as the only legitimate form of governance (for example by holding a so-called Summit for Democracy this week), the document ‘China: Democracy That Works’ provides a detailed insight into China’s own democratic system. Many in the West, having been told for so long that China is ‘undemocratic’ and ‘authoritarian’, will be surprised to find out that China has an extensive system of electoral representation at every level of society. Unlike in the West, China’s electoral democracy is not manipulated by financial interests; electoral campaigns are not high-budget marketing exercises; and people get elected on the basis of their record of serving the people.
As the document states, “state power serves the people, rather than capital.” This is the fundamental difference between China’s socialist democracy and the West’s capitalist democracy. This basic fact explains how China, in spite of being a developing country, is able to so effectively prioritise meeting the needs of the masses of the people – eradicating absolute poverty, suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic, tackling homelessness, stamping out corruption, constructing the world’s biggest social welfare system, and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
The document notes that different countries have different histories and national conditions and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to democracy. It therefore does not attempt to universalise China’s democratic model, but it does forcefully reject the attempts by the Western capitalist countries to universalise their model.
Note that Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group are holding a Summit for Socialist Democracy on 11 December 2021 that will explore some of these ideas in detail.
Democracy is a common value of humanity and an ideal that has always been cherished by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese people.
This year marks the centenary of the CPC. Since its founding in 1921, the Party has taken wellbeing for the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as its abiding goals, and has made continuous efforts to ensure the people’s status as masters of the country. China is a country with a feudal history dating back several thousand years that descended into a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society after the Opium War of 1840. Over the past hundred years, the Party has led the people in realizing people’s democracy in China. The Chinese people now truly hold in their hands their own future and that of society and the country.Continue reading On democracy in China: state power serves the people rather than capital
Quote: Wang Wenbin on the US’s brazen misuse of the word ‘democracy’
For too long the US has been using democracy as a cover to flagrantly engage in infiltration and subversion in sovereign countries, impose economic sanctions, cause turmoil and chaos, and wage wars of occupation, bringing disaster to the affected countries and the international community.
The so-called ‘Summit for Democracy’ will not turn Washington into a democratic high ground. It will only expose further the true face of the US as a manipulator and saboteur of democracy in front of the whole world.Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 1, 2021
Danny Haiphong exposes the rank hypocrisy of the so-called Summit for Democracy
Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong appeared on By Any Means Necessary with Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman to discuss the upcoming Summit for Democracy led by the Biden Administration. The conversation included an in-depth analysis of the differences between socialist democracy and capitalist democracy in preparation for FoSC’s upcoming Summit for Socialist Democracy. You can register for that here.
Global Times editorial on the inclusion of Taiwan province in Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’
This significant editorial from leading Chinese newspaper Global Times warns that the Biden administration is making a dangerous and provocative mistake in inviting the Taiwan authorities to its so-called Summit of Democracies next week. This dangerous escalation on the part of the US lends increased topicality and indeed urgency to our own Summit for Socialist Democracy, to be held on December 11, and which includes Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, Korean and Venezuelan perspectives among others.
The US Department of State released on Tuesday evening the list of 110 “participants” to the “Summit for Democracy.”
What caught the immediate attention of worldwide media were, first, the island of Taiwan was on the list; second, several countries were missing from the list, not just China and Russia, but also Turkey, a NATO member, Hungary, an EU and NATO member, and Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam from Asia, and all the countries from the Middle East except for Israel and Iraq.
Taiwan being invited was the most eye-catching. In addition to being thankful to the Biden administration, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority immediately announced its representatives to the summit including Audrey Tang Feng, a member of Taiwan’s “executive authority,” and Hsiao Bi-khim, the island of Taiwan’s representative to the US.Continue reading Global Times editorial on the inclusion of Taiwan province in Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’